U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice today said United States played a central role in establishing the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.
At a General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, Ms. Rice said thirty years after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported on the condition that would eventually become known as HIV. She said the world has proven that the world can tackle this pandemic.
“We call today on our fellow donors and partners-great and small-to increase their investments and redouble their commitment.’-Ms. Rice
According to Ms. Rice, in 2001, when the General Assembly held its special session, the global HIV/AIDS situation was grave. From 1981 to 2001, nearly 58 million people worldwide were infected. She said more than 25 million people died. Health systems buckled under the weight of the pandemic.
Ms. Rice added that the American people were moved by the sweeping tragedy. She urged the international community to come together in a spirit of compassion and concern.
“My government has been proud to have been a long leader in this global fight. The United States played a central role in establishing the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In 2002, the United States made the founding pledge to the Global Fund, and today, we are proud to remain by far its largest single donor.”-Ms. Rice
According to Ms. Rice, the United States made its first-ever multi-year pledge to the Global Fund this year and is working closely with the Fund on a robust reform agenda that will let it save even more lives.
Ms. Rice stated that in 2003, the United States created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR-the largest international response to a single disease that any country has ever mounted. She said when PEPFAR was launched, fewer than 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa had access to treatment. By September 2010, PEPFAR had supported treatment for more than 3.2 million people, the vast majority of them in Africa.
“Today, more than 3.8 million orphans and vulnerable children also receive PEPFAR support that gives them education, nutrition, and a chance for a better life.”-Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice said one particular focus of U.S. efforts has been the reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In 2010, programs supported by PEPFAR provided HIV counseling and testing to more than 8.6 million pregnant women. She added that more than 600,000 of them tested positive for HIV and received anti-retroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission- and thereby saving the lives of about 114,000 babies from HIV infection.
“So today, let us renew our common commitment to achieve a generation free of HIV.”-Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice underscored that the United States also remains committed to responding to the serious HIV epidemic we face here at home. In all, more than 1.7 million Americans have become infected with HIV; more than 600,000 have died of AIDS; and more than 50,000 people become infected with HIV each year.